Home > Infertility, IRTIC's, Marriage Redefinition > Intelligent Answers to Common Questions: Infertile Couples

Intelligent Answers to Common Questions: Infertile Couples

August 27th, 2011

We let infertile couples get married: why shouldn’t we allow same sex couples to get married?  Why should a 65 year old opposite sex couple be allowed to marry, and a 65 year old same sex couple not be allowed to marry?  

 The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. These two questions are addressing the situations where no children are likely to result from the union.

First, there is a clear difference between what same sex couples do and what infertile married couples do. No one could have children by performing same sex sexual acts. Yet, this is not true of the type of act performed by sterile married couples when they engage in vaginal intercourse. The lack of complementarity in same sex couples is a condition that renders it impossible for them to perform the kind of act that makes them organically one. If a married couple discovers that they are infertile, this obviously does not change what they have been doing in bed. They still perform the same kind of act they have been doing, perhaps for years. The difference is not in what they do—the kind of act—but in a condition that is accidental or extrinsic to what they do, namely the fact of having become sterile.

In fact, married couples who live a normal lifespan will all become infertile eventually, just through old age. This obviously does not take anything away from their marriage. Their union is still valid and very important to their children and grandchildren and the wider society. 

Second, redefining marriage as the union of any two persons, of any age or gender, leads directly to the redefinition of parenthood. Marriage attaches parents to their children and to one another through something called the “presumption of paternity.”  This ancient doctrine means that a woman’s husband is presumed to be the father of any children born to his wife during the course of their union. The presumption of paternity, combined with a social and legal norm of marital sexual exclusivity, means that marriage routinely and systematically attaches children to their biological parents.

The advocates of marriage redefinition want to redefine the presumption of paternity to a “presumption of parentage.”  Any children born to either partner during the course of a same sex union is presumed to be the child of both. In a same sex union, this means that each and every child will not be attached to at least one of his biological parents. Obviously, this functions quite differently from the presumption of paternity. The biological basis for natural parenthood will be undermined and replaced with legal definitions, invented and enforced by the state. 

Allowing elderly and infertile opposite sex couples to marry does not require the state to redefine parenthood.

Print Friendly
Be Sociable, Share!
  1. Alex
    August 27th, 2011 at 16:56 | #1

    You sort of sidestepped the question about elderly (straight) couples, Dr. Morse. A post-menopausal woman is, as a matter of biological reality, incapable of having children, and a union between such a woman and a man of any age is intrinsically and conspicuously incapable of giving rise to offspring. So there must be some reason why we allow elderly women to marry if they so choose. Clearly it’s unrelated to the welfare of children or the perpetuation of the human race. So are such marriages an evil or a fraud? After all, don’t they, by their sterile nature, detach the concept of marriage from child-bearing and child-rearing, and serve merely as an “affirmation of adult feelings,” to use Ms. Gallagher’s lovely phrase? What societal benefit is served by granting such people marriage licenses? The answer is, of course, that we celebrate such unions because they are good for the people engaging in them, regardless of the presence or absence of children. Making a formal, legally-protected commitment to the wellbeing of another person promotes and protects an individual’s health, wealth, and emotional wellbeing, and provides a stabilizing force in society. Ms. Gallagher and several other conservative Christians have written whole books about the benefits of marriage–without ever mentioning the issue of children! I humbly submit that the only possible reason the Ruth Institute and other fundamentalist organizations have for supporting intrinsically sterile elderly marriage and opposing intrinsically sterile gay marriage is their belief–a matter of doctrine–that gay relationships are evil and that the state should impose that doctrinal system on the secular marriage law.

  2. Rich
    August 27th, 2011 at 18:22 | #2

    Wow! The Ruth Institute finally got right down to the basic core of its stand on marriage. It comes down to penis A must find its way to vagina B. Forget about love, forget about commitment, forget about shared common goals, forget about the fact that no constitutional law or any law for that matter has ever called the sex act a requirement for civil marriage. In this one post you have distinguished yourself as the sole arbiter in the debate about what constitutes a true marriage.

    “In a same sex union, this means that each and every child will not be attached to at least one of his biological parents.”

    The operative word here is attached. Your statement is non-conditional and therefore ignorant of fact. So many wonderful marriages of equality are very much attached…attached to all the parents that constitute the family: biological or not. At my son’s wedding, he toasted to his four fathers: biological, dad’s life partner (soon to be married), stepfather and father-in-law. Biological mom and mother-in-law were also toasted. Cheers all around and your narrow, perverse view of Christianity was nowhere to be seen. And, it was not missed.

  3. Spunky
    August 27th, 2011 at 18:24 | #3

    This entire article is just a reiteration of 1) Robert George’s “What is Marriage?” paper and 2) your own talk “Same Sex Marriage: Why Not?”

    I have two questions about your first sentence: “The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.” Since this is not a fact, but instead an arbitrary belief, why do I have to assume that the essential public purpose of marriage is what you say it is? Also, when you say “mothers and fathers,” are you exclusively referring to opposite-sex couples right off the bat? If this is the case, why bother making points one and two?

  4. pioneervalleywoman
    August 28th, 2011 at 07:14 | #4

    As I read your arguments, it seemed to me that this is the strongest argument you might have started off with: “Allowing elderly and infertile opposite sex couples to marry does not require the state to redefine parenthood”.

    If they were younger, they might have been fertile, and they would have been capable of producing offspring within the traditional norms of married parenthood and the presumptions that follow. But now that they are older, they can not.

    Your arguments about heterosexual married couples discovering infertility doesn’t directly address the argument you were responding to, the marriage of an infertile 65 year old couple. Just as the same-sex couple, they are marrying with the knowledge they will not be able to conceive, so they are not similar to a heterosexual married couple who has no clue upon marrying that they are infertile.

  5. Joshua
    August 28th, 2011 at 07:38 | #5

    Spunky, mothers and fathers are natural entities. No one has two mothers, or two fathers. No one has lacked a mother and a father.

    I suspect you are just assuming by mother and father we mean guardians. No, parents are meant. Parents as in “those who gave birth” (that is what parent means etymologically).

    Language is important, and in using the following term I only do so because of the befuddled modern mind. Fathers and mothers are, simply and first, “biological fathers and mothers”Now the claim is that marriage exists to unite those who beget the child.

    See when a man and a woman make a baby, they are responsible for the good of that baby as it flows from their act. Marriage binds the two together, in part, for the sake of the good of the children. Not very arbitrary that, unless you think two women can naturally beget a child (in which case you are not sane).

  6. Ken
    August 28th, 2011 at 09:49 | #6

    WOW! Do you do any exercises before you contort your brain like that? How about couples that KNOW they’re infertile before they marry – either due to age, medical condition?

    Using your logic, it serves a greater public purpose to grant a marriage license to two 75 year olds than to grant one to a same-sex couple in their 30′s raising three young children. Why? Because the elderly couple may engage in vaginal intercourse?

    As a side note, I think that vaginal intercourse between people in their seventies is icky. Since it’s legal for old people to marry, will I be fined or jailed for writing that? Because Jennifer told us that it’s illegal to say certain sexual acts are icky if some of the people who engage in those acts are allowed to obtain marriage licenses.

  7. Sean
    August 28th, 2011 at 14:01 | #7

    “The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.”

    Even if that were true, how is that purpose compromised in any way when same-sex couples get married? Shouldn’t the same-sex couple raising children be “attached” to their children, for the children’s security and welfare?

    “First, there is a clear difference between what same sex couples do and what infertile married couples do.”

    But the outcome is the same: no baby. Therefore, no need to be married, according to the Dr. Morse “purpose of marriage” rule. We’re back to rewarding couples for having straight sex, not having babies, or “attaching” mothers and fathers to their babies.

    “The advocates of marriage redefinition want to redefine the presumption of paternity to a “presumption of parentage.””

    No they don’t. If a man and woman are married, and the woman gets pregnant, the baby is presumed to be her husband’s, lacking evidence or claims to the contrary. That doesn’t change when same-sex marriage is legal.

  8. Sean
    August 28th, 2011 at 14:24 | #8

    “The lack of complementarity in same sex couples is a condition that renders it impossible for them to perform the kind of act that makes them organically one.”

    This sounds suspiciously like a religious belief about sex and marriage: that coitus is a condition of marriage and must not be interrupted or interfered with. As a reminder, we don’t make laws based on religious beliefs, in the United States.

  9. August 29th, 2011 at 07:16 | #9

    The presumption of paternity, combined with a social and legal norm of marital sexual exclusivity, means that marriage routinely and systematically attaches children to their biological parents.

    Seems to me that it is entirely the “social and legal norm of marital sexual exclusivity” that attaches children to their biological parents, and the presumption of paternity is redundant and unnecessary in that regard. And it’s more than just a “legal norm” it is a “legal law” that demands that children only be conceived by married couples and forbids adultery and children being conceived by unmarried couples. Maybe you mean it’s only a “norm” in the states that do not have have fornication laws or adultery laws, or maybe when the law is ignored it turns it from a law into a norm? States should have and occasionally enforce adultery and fornication laws so as not to “cede legitimacy to illegitimacy” (I forget who here came up with that pun – Leo? bman? At any rate, lots of us here agreed on that point, that states should have a law on the books that respects the legitimacy of marital sex.)

    In practice, the “presumption of paternity” is more often used to separate children from their biological parents, when a husband is declared the parent even though his wife uses a sperm donor to have a child, for example, or had a secret affair. The presumption of paternity undermines marriage law when it is viewed as a legal loophole for sexual exclusivity of marriage. Husbands can still be legal parents, but they should be viewed as step-parents if they are not biological fathers.

  10. August 29th, 2011 at 07:56 | #10

    Also, I think a more intelligent answer to the infertility question is to point out that the better analogy is to sibling couples, not infertile or elderly couples, because siblings are not ALLOWED to reproduce, and are not allowed to marry. Infertile couples and elderly couples are not prohibited from procreating, and that is why they are allowed to marry.

    Only couples that are prohibited from procreating are prohibited from marrying, and same-sex couples should definitely be prohibited from procreating. All couples that are officially allowed and approved to procreate are allowed to marry. And all married couples should have and feel the official approval of society to reproduce offspring of the marriage, whether they are able to or not. Marriage should never be separated from the right to reproduce offspring, marriage should always express society’s approval and affirm the right to reproduce offspring. That doesn’t mean marriage is a right to parent which guarantees delivery of a baby for the couple to parent (indeed marriage doesn’t protect the right to parent at all, parenting rights are completely separate from marriage, though biological parents have an expectation and an obligation to parent their children, they do not have right to do so).

  11. August 29th, 2011 at 08:30 | #11

    And note that those states that permit first cousins to marry only if they prove they are infertile do not actually prohibit them from procreating. Thus their marriage continues to approve of them reproducing offspring, but it is given on the theory that they just won’t. If they do want to prohibit them from reproducing, they should give them Civil Unions defined as “marriage minus procreation rights” and then also prohibit first cousins from reproducing together. That’s what we should do for same-sex couples also.

  12. August 29th, 2011 at 12:09 | #12

    @Ken
    “How about couples that KNOW they’re infertile before they marry – either due to age, medical condition?”

    As long as they are eligible to marry each other (not minors, not closely related, not already married) they may get a license and legally marry each other, and will receive the same benefits and protections and the same right and approval to have sex and conceive offspring that all married couples get. They are not required to be able to procreate, so we aren’t interested in their fertility, and there is no age limit.

    “Using your logic, it serves a greater public purpose to grant a marriage license to two 75 year olds than to grant one to a same-sex couple in their 30′s raising three young children. Why? Because the elderly couple may engage in vaginal intercourse?”

    The two 75 year olds are taking advantage of the fact that there is no age limit. You’re right that there is not much public purpose to that, but we have to let them because an age limit or fertility restriction would infringe on basic rights. They aren’t prohibited from procreating like the same-sex couple should be. And a ban on same-sex reproduction wouldn’t violate any basic human rights like a ban on 75 year olds reproducing would. Marriages have never expired, spouses have been allowed to have sex and conceive children until they die of old age.

  13. August 29th, 2011 at 14:16 | #13

    The problem with this self-proclaimed intelligent response is that it’s rhetorical, not analytical. It’s full of unsupported assumptions (why is procreation the only indicator of sexual complementary? no reason given) and vague, undefined terms, such as “organically one.”

    What does that mean? No answer. What are the criteria for being “organically one”? No answer.

    Now, NOM founding chairman Robert George did offer an answer in his article, “What is Marriage?” (much touted here and on the NOM website), but his answer fails. In brief, he says “organic bodily union” requires “bodies coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient,” and the only candidate for this biological function is reproduction.

    The problem, of course, is that an infertile couple having sex does not involve ““bodies coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient” because this coordination of their bodies will not lead to reproduction.

    There are many, many, many more problems with his analysis, including a shocking but unstated conclusion that rape would constitute organic bodily union ! (Which I would imagine he disagrees with, but which seems an inescapable implication of his reasoning.)

    A much more in-depth analysis here:

    http://wakingupnow.com/blog/reply-to-george-x-why-infertile-straights-get-to-marry

  14. Betsy
    August 29th, 2011 at 15:04 | #14

    Rob, one starts to get the impression that you are at this site farming for people to add hits to your site.

  15. August 29th, 2011 at 15:14 | #15

    Does one, Betsy? I don’t have control over the impression one is getting, so I don’t know what response one is hoping for.

  16. Paul H
    August 29th, 2011 at 15:23 | #16

    Rob Tisinai:
    The problem, of course, is that an infertile couple having sex does not involve ““bodies coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient” because this coordination of their bodies will not lead to reproduction.

    It seems clear to me that sex DOES involve “bodies coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient.” That function (reproduction) won’t always be successful, but the function exists regardless of whether or not it is successful in a given instance.

  17. Betsy
    August 29th, 2011 at 15:44 | #17

    Rob, you have given a link to your own blog in comments here many times. I would recommend just saying what you want to say here, rather than providing the links.

  18. August 29th, 2011 at 15:54 | #18

    Paul H, in what sense are the bodies of an infertile couple coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient? We’re not talking about people who may not be successful “in a given instance,” but people who cannot be successful ever.

  19. August 29th, 2011 at 15:56 | #19

    Betsy, generally I link because the post or argument is too long for a comment or formatted with quotes and references that people can check. However, I’m a guest here, and if you are a moderator (I believe that’s so), I’ll cheerfully abide by your guidelines.

  20. bman
    August 29th, 2011 at 17:20 | #20

    @John Howard

    The two 75 year olds are taking advantage of the fact that there is no age limit. You’re right that there is not much public purpose to that, but we have to let them because an age limit or fertility restriction would infringe on basic rights

    This serves a vital public purpose of establishing the marriage norm, so that fertile men and women will be encouraged to marry by the marriage of elderly men and women late in life. It says “marriage is for life,” instead of saying “marriage is only for the young.”

    It also upholds the norm that sex between men and women should occur within marriage, and that this should remain constant with age.

  21. Sean
    August 29th, 2011 at 18:56 | #21

    “It seems clear to me that sex DOES involve “bodies coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient.” That function (reproduction) won’t always be successful, but the function exists regardless of whether or not it is successful in a given instance.”

    Well, if the couple is infertile, or uses birth control, then the function you presume sex is purposed with (as opposed to expressing love, satiating a libido, exercise, or whatever) doesn’t happen.

    If marriage is defined by fertile sex, does that mean that fertile straight couples are not married when they are using birth control?

  22. August 29th, 2011 at 23:14 | #22

    @bman Well, I agree that we should uphold the norm that sex should only occur in marriage, and so require even 75 year olds to marry before they have sex. But I do think that glomming on to someone’s SS benefits is a invalid reason for marriage and we should look into ways to curtail that abuse. Perhaps we should enforce the same “are they having sex” rule that we use for immigration.

  23. Leo
    August 30th, 2011 at 01:45 | #23

    Dr. J’s essential public purpose of marriage is not so much arbitrary as it is intuitive to even a casual observer, though it could be phrased differently and expanded upon.
    Even a casual observer will note that heterosexual unions tend to produce offspring, while same sex unions cannot and do not. Even a casual observer will note that keeping the parents of the children so engendered attached to each other and to their children protects the mother and the child from abandonment and discourages irresponsible procreation. Even a casual observer will realize that society can endorse the type of sex that produces children without endorsing rape (as Rob seems to imply). Even a casual student of history will note the heterosexual definition of marriage is ubiquitous. And no society that I am aware of has a legal upper limit on the age for marriage. Honoring the elderly is a nearly universal custom. That certain customs are widely enshrined in religion does not make them irrational or arbitrary. Their common appearance suggests they convey a functional advantage.

    Dr. J’s essential public purpose for marriage is apt in that no other societal institution fulfills this purpose. This is also essential in that it goes to the essence of what most people and virtually all societies would recognize as marriage. The alternatives to natural childbirth and having the parents raise their children as a norm are the stuff of dystopian fiction. Think Brave New World.

    It is a public purpose in that it is recognized by the citizenry as producing a public good, in this case, children. There are other public purposes. A related and obvious one is protecting women in their unique relationships with men. There are still others, such as the joining of two clans, which loom larger in other historical settings than today.

    The question of infertility remains. Why allow or recognize infertile marriages? One obvious answer is that for the state or society to test for fertility would be a serious invasion of privacy. Historically, it was not generally possible. Even today the causes of infertility are often hard to detect and may be reversible. In contrast, a same-sex union is inherently, manifestly, permanently, and obviously sterile even when both partners are not.

    Another answer is that to dismiss a wife who becomes infertile would be to fail to honor her for her past or prospective labor, if you will pardon the pun. Pregnancy and childbirth is a serious cost and risk for women, both historically and still today. A society that values fertility can rationally reward women who risk responsible pregnancy whether they are able to successfully bear children or not.

    Finally, there remains the question of new marriages contracted by the elderly, something that was historically a rarity simply due to historically shorter average lifespans. Marriage among the elderly presents special problems, including, but not limited to mental competency, the exploitation of dependency in old age, preservation of previous family wealth, avoidance of the other’s financial obligations related to health care and other debts, and interactions with adult children. Elder law might reasonably evolve in new directions away from traditional marriage and that might or might not be for the better. On the other hand, the elderly might reasonably expect and politically demand that the same societal rules governing sexual propriety and institutions that they lived with their whole lives should not be denied to them in old age. Society traditionally “grandfathers in” many such privileges as part of honoring the elderly. The privacy argument also applies here. Searching for the age of the oldest age of birth for women and the oldest age for fathering a child produces some surprisingly cases. A test for the onset of infertility would be invasive of privacy. The issue of protecting women also applies. Since the onset of infertility in old age generally occurs first with the wife, and since women are racing a biological clock, marriage law can rationally take into account the plight of women who might otherwise be neglected by a husband in search of a younger spouse. In any event marriage among the elderly does not redefine key elements of family law.

    None of this is to say that marriage couldn’t be redefined or repurposed if society so wished. It is merely to show that heterosexual marriage has a purpose that is so intuitive that most people and societies easily recognize it and that designing laws to fulfill that purpose is very rational, so rational that is was lauded by the Supreme Court in Murphy v. Ramsey in the highest terms. Exceptions to the purpose can be easily explained by the existence of other values such as protecting privacy, protecting women in their relations with men, establishing lifetime marriage as a norm, and honoring the elderly. Those exceptions do not require fundamental changes in the definition of marriage or legal presumptions that govern attaching children to parents.

    The point is not that Dr. George and Dr. J. are always right or that they could win any debate or that marriage is beyond redefinition. The point is that they are clearly rational, as is their definition of marriage, which is the standard the law is looking for.

  24. Anne
    August 30th, 2011 at 06:38 | #24

    @Sean
    ““The lack of complementarity in same sex couples is a condition that renders it impossible for them to perform the kind of act that makes them organically one.”

    This sounds suspiciously like a religious belief about sex and marriage: that coitus is a condition of marriage and must not be interrupted or interfered with.”

    Really Sean? It sounds like science (and common sense) to me. But then of course, unless you call it religion, you can’t dispense with it.

  25. Paul H
    August 30th, 2011 at 07:31 | #25

    Rob Tisinai:
    Paul H, in what sense are the bodies of an infertile couple coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient? We’re not talking about people who may not be successful “in a given instance,” but people who cannot be successful ever.

    How do you know they cannot be successful ever? In the case of an elderly couple you are almost certainly right, but there are couples who were sure they were infertile and who later conceived. An acquaintance of mine told me that his sister recently had a baby. She is 39 or 40 and had previously had her tubes tied, so the pregnancy was obviously quite a surprise. And my aunt and uncle adopted their first child because they had good reason to believe they were infertile, but then they went on to have two biological children after that.

    But all of that is beside the point anyway. The relevant point here is that one of the main purposes of sex is reproduction. (I think that this fact is self-evident, even if you look at sex only from an evolutionary perspective.) And that purpose doesn’t change just because that purpose doesn’t come to fruition every time that a couple engages in sex (which is true even for a very fertile couple).

    There are plenty of analogies that could be used here. Let me try one: If I go fishing, the act of baiting a hook and casting my line into the water is oriented toward catching a fish, even though there may be some days when I don’t catch a single fish. In fact, even if I go fishing in a lake that has no fish in it, I am still taking actions that are oriented toward the purpose or goal of catching a fish.

  26. Heidi
    August 30th, 2011 at 09:21 | #26

    Yet again, TRI reduces marriage to the combination of opposing body parts. How silly.

  27. Heidi
    August 30th, 2011 at 09:31 | #27

    “Any children born to either partner during the course of a same sex union is presumed to be the child of both. In a same sex union, this means that each and every child will not be attached to at least one of his biological parents.”

    And every child born to a heterosexual couple that needs genetic material from a third person to create that child will not be attached to at least one of his biological parents. And every child that is placed for adoption will not be attached to either of his biological parents. Sperm and egg donors are not parents. Only the people who actually do the job of parenting are parents, whether or not they are biologically related to their children. With or without same-sex marriage, people (gay or straight) are allowed to parent children. There are also plenty of same-sex couples who will not raise children even if they are married. Just as there are plenty of heterosexual couples who will not raise children even if they are married and those who will raise children outside of the bonds of marriage. Please stop trying to conflate parenthood with marriage. Neither is dependent on the other for its meaning or existence.

  28. August 30th, 2011 at 10:20 | #28

    “How do you know they cannot be successful ever? In the case of an elderly couple you are almost certainly right…”

    Full stop. We know that elderly couples cannot reproduce but we allow them to marry.

    “In fact, even if I go fishing in a lake that has no fish in it, I am still taking actions that are oriented toward the purpose or goal of catching a fish.”

    Not if you go there knowing there are no fish in it. Not if you go there with absolutely no intention of catching a fish, or if you think it would be DISASTROUS if you caught a fish — as an elderly 85-year-old woman might feel if she mysteriously found herself in pregnant at an age where her body simply could not handle.

    When that woman has sex with her husband — or a woman who’s had a hysterectomy and is absolutely certain she cannot conceive — they are not “coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient.” Yet not only do we allow them to marry, but we’d consider it cruel to argue that they CANNOT be married simply because they fail this criteria Robert George (and possibly Dr J) have for becoming “organically one” (which they consider a necessary condition for “real” marriage).

  29. Paul H
    August 30th, 2011 at 10:22 | #29

    Heidi:
    Yet again, TRI reduces marriage to the combination of opposing body parts. How silly.

    Yet if a man and a woman were not able to “combine” their “opposing body parts,” thus leading to conception of new life, then why would we need marriage as a union that is officially recognized and privileged by society? I can’t see any reason why marriage would exist in such a scenario, at least not as a public institution that is recognized by governments or by religious authorities or both.

  30. August 30th, 2011 at 10:36 | #30

    @Paul H
    “In fact, even if I go fishing in a lake that has no fish in it, I am still taking actions that are oriented toward the purpose or goal of catching a fish.”

    That’s right, and a fishing license would approve and allow you to catch fish even if you are a bad fisherman or fish where there aren’t any fish. The key thing is that we shouldn’t allow same-sex couples to catch fish, as it were, because no matter how they do it it would be unethical, the goal is unethical and we shouldn’t approve of it. We know this based on genetic science, it is a natural fact. We should prohibit same-sex couples from creating offspring together, we should not approve or allow the creation of people by any means other than joining a man and a woman.

  31. Anne
    August 30th, 2011 at 10:42 | #31

    @Heidi
    “Yet again, TRI reduces marriage to the combination of opposing body parts. How silly.”

    Biology and anatomy are not silly. Neither is the idea of compatability in nature and society. The fact that you would be so dismissive of the concepts because they don’t accomodate your sexual and personal desires is frightening.

  32. Spunky
    August 30th, 2011 at 11:10 | #32

    Joshua, I don’t believe biological parents are the only types of parents. I believe adoptive mothers and fathers are also a child’s parents. After all, they’re the ones who do the actual parenting.

    I contend that marriage helps any two parents raise their children. After all, if gay couples receive the same benefits that straight couples do, their children will be in a better situation. If two parents get married and then give their child up for adoption, that’s fine and good. But the parents raising that child (whoever they may be) still should have the same benefits that married opposite-sex couples get.

    Notice that I said “marriage helps,” rather than “marriage exists so that.” There are many other reasons for people to marry, many not involving children at all. Dr. Morse ignores all of these reasons. My question is why.

  33. August 30th, 2011 at 12:06 | #33

    Is anyone else going to tell Rob and Sean that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex? Is anyone going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime, just like reproducing with a sibling or child is? Cause Rob and Sean have no good argument for why it should be legal in spite of the costs and dangers. As long as it is legal, then we have no argument why they should not be allowed to marry.

  34. Paul H
    August 30th, 2011 at 14:30 | #34

    Rob Tisinai:
    “How do you know they cannot be successful ever? In the case of an elderly couple you are almost certainly right…”
    Full stop. We know that elderly couples cannot reproduce but we allow them to marry.

    How do you know that? Men can be fertile into their 80s, perhaps in some cases even beyond. And even before the advent of IVF and similar technologies, I read about a woman who had given birth at the age of 57. So where would you draw the line? Even if you believe that infertile elderly couples should be prohibited from marrying (which I don’t believe), how do you know that whatever line you draw is high enough to screen out 100% of potentially fertile couples, while being low enough to serve a meaningful purpose (since very few people get married in their 70s or beyond, as far as I know)?

    “In fact, even if I go fishing in a lake that has no fish in it, I am still taking actions that are oriented toward the purpose or goal of catching a fish.”
    Not if you go there knowing there are no fish in it.

    Perhaps in one sense you are right. But I think in an equally valid sense that yes, I am still taking actions that are oriented toward the purpose or goal of catching a fish, even if I know there are no fish in the lake. That is my point.

    The actions of fishing are oriented toward catching a fish, even if there is no fish to catch. I say that because if there were no such thing as fish, then no one would put a worm on a hook that is attached to a length of fishing line, and then swing a pole to cast the line out into the water. These things just wouldn’t be done if there were no such thing as fish.

    Therefore, even if I know that there aren’t any fish in a particular lake, I am still doing the things needed to catch a fish. And it’s at least conceivably possible that I could get a surprise and find out that my knowledge was wrong — that there actually is a fish in the lake, and that I caught it.

    When that woman has sex with her husband — or a woman who’s had a hysterectomy and is absolutely certain she cannot conceive — they are not “coordinating toward a single biological function for which each alone is not sufficient.” Yet not only do we allow them to marry, but we’d consider it cruel to argue that they CANNOT be married simply because they fail this criteria Robert George (and possibly Dr J) have for becoming “organically one” (which they consider a necessary condition for “real” marriage).

    But they do fulfill the criteria, because they are doing exactly the same thing that a fertile couple is doing. They are engaging in the same act. The man’s reproductive system and the woman’s reproductive system are working together in the one and only way that human life can naturally come about. And even if the husband or the wife has a medical issue that makes conception impossible or nearly impossible, still nothing fundamentally changes about the way their reproductive systems work together in the conjugal act.

    Furthermore, as I mentioned, even couples who are 100% CERTAIN that they are infertile sometimes end up being wrong and having a surprise pregnancy.

  35. Paul H
    August 30th, 2011 at 14:33 | #35

    John Howard :
    Is anyone else going to tell Rob and Sean that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex? Is anyone going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime, just like reproducing with a sibling or child is? Cause Rob and Sean have no good argument for why it should be legal in spite of the costs and dangers. As long as it is legal, then we have no argument why they should not be allowed to marry.

    If I had my way, any artificial production of children (i.e., IVF, cloning, and who knows what other technologies that are on the horizon) would be illegal. I think that these technologies are an offense against human dignity.

    Assisting the human body’s natural reproductive capabilities is a good thing, but I do not think that we as a society should condone creating children in a test tube or a petri dish.

  36. Paul H
    August 30th, 2011 at 14:34 | #36

    Spunky:
    Notice that I said “marriage helps,” rather than “marriage exists so that.” There are many other reasons for people to marry, many not involving children at all. Dr. Morse ignores all of these reasons. My question is why.

    Because those other reasons, while they are real and legitimate, are not sufficient to explain why the government needs to be in the business of licensing and regulating marriages.

  37. Spunky
    August 30th, 2011 at 14:59 | #37

    @John Howard Two same-sex partners can’t reproduce offspring, but they certainly can raise their children just as well as anyone else (as far as we know). I’m not going to comment on IVF because I’m unfamiliar with its costs and risks, but certainly you wouldn’t ban gay adoption, right?

  38. TAR
    August 30th, 2011 at 15:00 | #38

    While male-female unions are unique in their procreative function, procreation is not the only reason for society to grant them the special title and rights of marriage.

    The dynamic that makes male-female couplings the optimum environment for nurturing new life also serves to optimally benefit the two in the couple as well as society at large. Whether a male-female union by choice or circumstance fails to create life does not diminish the greater whole their coupling achieves.

    By virtue of innate biological differences the coupling of male and female creates a greater whole than the sum of its parts. The coupling of two dissimilar complementary beings creates a greater degree of synergy than the coupling of two similar beings. Males and females are designed to become one and it is no accident that males and females each possess exactly half of the formula the other needs to create life.

    Nature has done its best to ensure a new life receives the best environment possible to survive, thrive and ultimately repeat the process. Whether by the hand of God or millions of years of evolution can be debated, but there is no debating the fact that every child comes into this world with exactly one biological mother and father. There is also no debating the fact that on average the environment created by the two whose loving union created the child is overall the best environment for raising the child.

    Two men or two women can unite to raise a child, but they can never raise the creation of their union. Nature never intended two “mommies” or two “daddies.” Nature’s full intent is one mother and one father.

    Society should encourage behaviors that are beneficial to society, discourage behaviors that are detrimental to society, and remain neutral on behaviors that are neutral to society. The granting of the special title and rights of marriage solely to lifelong monogamous male-female unions (regardless of intent or ability to procreate) is society encouraging a very specific behavior that is uniquely beneficial to the two in the union and society at large. No other human relationship creates the same degree of benefit and therefore no other human relationship deserves equal title and rights.

  39. Spunky
    August 30th, 2011 at 16:11 | #39

    Paul H :

    Spunky:
    Notice that I said “marriage helps,” rather than “marriage exists so that.” There are many other reasons for people to marry, many not involving children at all. Dr. Morse ignores all of these reasons. My question is why.

    Because those other reasons, while they are real and legitimate, are not sufficient to explain why the government needs to be in the business of licensing and regulating marriages.

    This is untrue. There are loads of perks couples get (and should get) because they decide to get married, none of which involve children. For example, husbands and wives can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t.
    can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t. Husbands and wives don’t have to worry about hospital visitation rights,
    inheritance issues,
    their spouses getting deported, Social Security survivor benefits (not the same as inheritance), federal tax benefits, and retirement benefits, and more.

    But gay couples do, even though their relationships are identical to opposite-sex relationships when considering these issues. The reasons posted above, along with children’s rights and privileges, are precisely the reasons the government is in the business of licensing and regulating marriages, and why the government should give equal treatment to gay couples who want to marry.

    *Crossing my fingers that I linked the text correctly!*

  40. Sean
    August 30th, 2011 at 19:18 | #40

    “Even a casual observer will note that heterosexual unions tend to produce offspring, while same sex unions cannot and do not.”

    I’m a casual observer and I don’t note that. In fact, most heterosexual sex is conducted specifically to avoid producing offspring, or is followed by aborting potential offspring. An awful lot of effort is put into NOT creating babies, in other words.

    I know it’s satisfying to talk about a perceived role of marriage regarding children. But the reality simply doesn’t exist. Many couples with no intention or capability for reproduction happily, and with full knowledge, get married. Many couples with children decide not to get married. Most importantly, even if marriage had a connection to procreation, that connection is unaffected when same-sex couples marry.

    “It is merely to show that heterosexual marriage has a purpose that is so intuitive that most people and societies easily recognize it…”

    Evidently many marrying couples don’t recognize it, because if you tell a childless married couple that marriage is about procreation, they might be bewildered, or even offended. My sister and her husband did not have children and are past the age where it’s a possibility. I believe that they are married, as do they, and the state of California, all their family and friends, their employers, their neighbors, etc. All these people can’t be wrong, can they?

    “Exceptions to the purpose can be easily explained by the existence of other values such as protecting privacy, protecting women in their relations with men, establishing lifetime marriage as a norm, and honoring the elderly”

    Exactly! Gay couples deserve the same privacy to make their own adult choices, and contribute to re-establishing marriage as a norm, and being honored in their old age. Certainly not the treatment afforded the elderly Connecticut woman, whose same-sex spouse died, creating a $300,000 tax burden!

    “The point is that they are clearly rational, as is their definition of marriage, which is the standard the law is looking for”

    Prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying advances no rational public purpose. However you want to view marriage for straight couples, this doesn’t change when all citizens have the equal right to marry.

  41. Rob Tisinai
    August 30th, 2011 at 19:20 | #41

    “The dynamic that makes male-female couplings the optimum environment for nurturing new life also serves to optimally benefit the two in the couple as well as society at large.”

    Assumes facts not in evidence (the first part of the sentence), and unsupported assertion (the second part).

    “By virtue of innate biological differences the coupling of male and female creates a greater whole than the sum of its parts.”

    Not for infertile couples.

    “The coupling of two dissimilar complementary beings creates a greater degree of synergy than the coupling of two similar beings.”

    Ill-defined terms (dissimilar, complementary, synergy, similar) render this rhetoric rather than analysis, especially when it comes to the synergy of infertile couples. Also, you’ve neglected to show that two men or two women cannot also be “dissimilar complementary beings.”

    “Nature has done its best to ensure a new life receives the best environment possible to survive, thrive and ultimately repeat the process. Whether by the hand of God or millions of years of evolution can be debated, but there is no debating the fact that every child comes into this world with exactly one biological mother and father.”

    We’re talking about nature and evolution here? Many animals lay eggs and never see their offspring (and if they do, they eat them). Talking about humans? Neither nature nor evolution are sufficient to guarantee the father will even know about the child’s existence.

    “Two men or two women can unite to raise a child, but they can never raise the creation of their union.”

    Same with infertile couples (the subject of the post!).

    “Nature never intended two “mommies” or two “daddies.” Nature’s full intent is one mother and one father.”

    Nature is not a living creature with goals and purpose, and therefore does not have “intentions.”

    “The granting of the special title and rights of marriage solely to lifelong monogamous male-female unions (regardless of intent or ability to procreate) is society encouraging a very specific behavior that is uniquely beneficial to the two in the union and society at large.”

    How do same-sex couples and infertile opposite-sex couples differ in the context of this statement?

    Seriously, people, you can do better than this.

  42. Sean
    August 30th, 2011 at 19:28 | #42

    “Society should encourage behaviors that are beneficial to society”

    Exactly. It is very beneficial to society to give all children the benefits of having married parents. All couples raising children should be encouraged, if not required, to get married.

    Society should outlaw pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce, because society does not benefit from these activities and in fact suffers when unmarried couples have unplanned pregnancies, or marriages get broken up because of cheating, or children are devastated when their parents divorce.

    I invite TRI to add pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce to same-sex marriage as things to be illegal and forbidden. Our society cannot bear to keep tearing itself apart with legal pre-marital sex, legal adultery and legal divorce.

    If a behavior is not seen as beneficial, it must be outlawed, just like we’ve done with pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce, as well as smoking, gambling, and overeating. We are a better society for outlawed these unwise, unhealthy and socially damaging behaviors!

  43. August 30th, 2011 at 22:34 | #43

    “Many couples with no intention or capability for reproduction happily, and with full knowledge, get married.”

    If they are eligible to marry, that’s all that matters.

    “Many couples with children decide not to get married.”

    OK. Still marriage would give official approval of conceiving children together, whatever they decide or whatever happens.

    “Most importantly, even if marriage had a connection to procreation, that connection is unaffected when same-sex couples marry.”

    No, because it would equate using modified gametes or substitute gametes with using the couples own unmodified gametes. If we say that same-sex couples are equal to a man and a woman, then we have to deny that people have a real right to procreate as their own sex with someone of the other sex using their own unmodified genes. SSM is official denial of equal procreation rights and natural procreation rights.

  44. August 30th, 2011 at 22:46 | #44

    @Paul H
    “If I had my way, any artificial production of children (i.e., IVF, cloning, and who knows what other technologies that are on the horizon) would be illegal. I think that these technologies are an offense against human dignity.”

    I agree. But isn’t our whole point here to have our way and make things that we think should be illegal illegal? We are trying to affect what’s legal, are we not? You seem suddenly shy about it, as if it was out of the question that we might make IVF and cloning and other technologies illegal. We can make them all illegal if we convince our legislators to make them illegal. It’s possible the Supreme Court would rule that homologous IVF (meaning it uses a husband’s and wife’s own gametes) was a right of marriage due to privacy rights, but they wouldn’t rule that way about a same-sex couple using artificial gametes, because there is no fundamental human right to do that.

    “Assisting the human body’s natural reproductive capabilities is a good thing, but I do not think that we as a society should condone creating children in a test tube or a petri dish.”

    Exactly, we should prohibit creating people by any means other than joining a man and a woman’s own unmodified gametes. If we can add “of a married man and woman” that’d be even better, but it might be harder to do that.

    So please join me in calling for a law banning creating people by any means other than joining a man and a woman’s unmodified gametes.

  45. August 30th, 2011 at 22:52 | #45

    Spunky :
    @John Howard Two same-sex partners can’t reproduce offspring, but they certainly can raise their children just as well as anyone else (as far as we know). I’m not going to comment on IVF because I’m unfamiliar with its costs and risks, but certainly you wouldn’t ban gay adoption, right?

    A same-sex couple can’t do it using unmodified gametes and their own bodies, but they can do it using stem cell derived modified opposite sex gametes, and the assistance of labs and third parties. They shouldn’t be allowed to create offspring, creating offspring should be a crime, we should not approve or license them procreating offspring, because it would be bad for the planet and society and harmful to the person being created.

  46. Anne
    August 31st, 2011 at 04:01 | #46

    In light of the contention that fertility, procreation, parenthood and opposing body parts are not inherent in the purpose or definition of marriage, can Rob, Spunky, Heidi or Sean explain to me why incest should not be acceptable in marriage?

  47. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 11:49 | #47

    John Howard:
    I agree. But isn’t our whole point here to have our way and make things that we think should be illegal illegal? We are trying to affect what’s legal, are we not? You seem suddenly shy about it, as if it was out of the question that we might make IVF and cloning and other technologies illegal. We can make them all illegal if we convince our legislators to make them illegal.

    I don’t think I’m shy about it. But what exactly do you want me to do? If a politician or a political organization supports making IVF and similar technologies illegal, then I will consider supporting that politician or political organization. I don’t have the time to organize an anti-IVF group or to lead an anti-IVF political movement myself. But if someone else does so, I would be happy to support them.

  48. August 31st, 2011 at 11:57 | #48

    Anne, that’s a tough question for both sides of this argument. Mostly I react with the same ick factor response shared by most people (an aversion that may be biologically hard-wired). But ick isn’t a rational policy justification against incest any more than against same-sex marriage. The best I could do is point out that NOM’s founding chairman, in his article “What is Marriage,” fails to give a principled answer to this, too.

    Consider a brother-sister couple in love. Let’s say the woman has had a hysterectomy, so they can’t reproduce. Could their relationship pass George’s criteria for a “real” marriage?

    Yes:

    Comprehensive union? ✓
    Orientation to children (which, to George, means nothing more than vaginal sex)? ✓
    Permanence? ✓
    Exclusivity? ✓

    All of these are possible for our brother and sister living as man and wife. By George’s standard, they have a “real” marriage.

    I was hoping to gain insight from George’s reasoning on why infertile closely-related couples should not be allowed to marry, but frankly, his reasoning leads to the (surely unintentional) conclusion that they SHOULD.

    So George has failed me. Anne, perhaps you can help me out: What is your argument for why an infertile brother/sister couple should not be allowed to marry?

  49. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 12:01 | #49

    Spunky:
    This is untrue. There are loads of perks couples get (and should get) because they decide to get married, none of which involve children. For example, husbands and wives can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t.
    can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t. Husbands and wives don’t have to worry about hospital visitation rights,
    inheritance issues,
    their spouses getting deported, Social Security survivor benefits (not the same as inheritance), federal tax benefits, and retirement benefits, and more.

    I think that we are looking at this in two very different ways. I stand by what I said initially. Let me explain:

    Suppose that there were no such thing as sexual reproduction, and even no such thing as babies or children. Suppose that we lived in a world where brand-new adult humans periodically just popped into existence, fully grown, fully educated, fully socialized, etc., with no concept of parents or parenting. In this hypothetical a world, if a man and a woman wanted to establish a special committed relationship called marriage, would there be a legitimate reason for the government to license that relationship, and to require that special privileges be given to that relationship? I contend that the answer would be no.

    If you disagree, that is fine. But then if you want to refute my point, I think that you should tell me why the government should license and privilege relationships in my hypothetical scenario, rather than telling me what the government actually does for married couples today. I say this because we actually live in a world where marriage usually leads to children, and because I contend that government policies on marriage implicitly take this fact into account — in fact the very idea of what marriage is implicitly takes this fact into account.

  50. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 12:02 | #50

    Spunky:
    *Crossing my fingers that I linked the text correctly!*

    It looks like you did well. :)

  51. Spunky
    August 31st, 2011 at 12:12 | #51

    Here’s an article outlining some major differences between homosexuality and incest, and even why gays should marry but relatives shouldn’t: http://www.slate.com/id/2277787/

    Note that Saletan’s piece focuses on his moral view of incest, rather than whether or not incest should be legal.

    I’m not sure how much I agree with him–I certainly don’t think parents should take advantage of their children, and I wouldn’t want to see family structures compromised because of sexual relations between family members, but at the same time, I’m not convinced that this is always the case. It’s an area we should learn more about so we can have more educated opinions.

    In short, incest (along with anything else) is bad if it hurts others. Saletan gives clear examples where incestuous relationships hurt the family by “inject[ing] a notoriously incendiary dynamic—sexual tension—into the mix.” Since homosexual relationships don’t inflict any of this sort of damage to the family structure, this can be seen as a way that incest should not be permitted but homosexuality should be. One can then expand this idea to apply to marriage.

  52. August 31st, 2011 at 12:27 | #52

    Paul H. writes, “Even if you believe that infertile elderly couples should be prohibited from marrying (which I don’t believe), how do you know that whatever line you draw is high enough to screen out 100% of potentially fertile couples, while being low enough to serve a meaningful purpose (since very few people get married in their 70s or beyond, as far as I know)?”

    But Paul, that’s the point — we wouldn’t draw the line. We think that elderly couples SHOULD be allowed to marry, as they are, along with all other infertile couples. We’re not the ones drawing the line, you guys are — by saying that only SOME infertile couples can marry while others cannot.

  53. Spunky
    August 31st, 2011 at 12:50 | #53

    Paul H :

    Spunky:
    This is untrue. There are loads of perks couples get (and should get) because they decide to get married, none of which involve children. For example, husbands and wives can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t.
    can be on each others’ health insurance plans, while gay couples can’t. Husbands and wives don’t have to worry about hospital visitation rights,
    inheritance issues,
    their spouses getting deported, Social Security survivor benefits (not the same as inheritance), federal tax benefits, and retirement benefits, and more.

    I think that we are looking at this in two very different ways. I stand by what I said initially. Let me explain:
    Suppose that there were no such thing as sexual reproduction, and even no such thing as babies or children. Suppose that we lived in a world where brand-new adult humans periodically just popped into existence, fully grown, fully educated, fully socialized, etc., with no concept of parents or parenting. In this hypothetical a world, if a man and a woman wanted to establish a special committed relationship called marriage, would there be a legitimate reason for the government to license that relationship, and to require that special privileges be given to that relationship? I contend that the answer would be no.

    Given the list of things (that have nothing to do with children) the government can offer married couples, I contend the answer is yes.

    The services I listed that the government provides for married couples have nothing to do with children. They have everything to do with the fact that those two people are now forming a family and wish to be unified in several ways. They share the same house, the same families, and the same finances. They even wish to act in the place of the other at various times (for example, certain medical and financial decisions). They would not let anyone else act in these capacities. The relationship they call marriage signifies their unity as a couple and how close they are to one another.

    I cite inheritance as an example of this. Married couples share assets, not because of children but because they want to combine “his” and “her” possessions into “their” possessions. They own their things as a married couple, not as two individual owners. So naturally, when one person dies, the other person should retain ownership of all of things, since they have rightfully belonged to that person his (her) entire life. This is a concept that does not take reproduction into account. I see no reason not to grant this to any couple in a long-term, committed relationship, even if children grow on trees.

  54. August 31st, 2011 at 12:51 | #54

    Wow, Paul H, you seem to be making the case that infertile or elderly couples should not be allowed to marry.

  55. August 31st, 2011 at 13:23 | #55

    @Paul H
    “But what exactly do you want me to do? ”

    I said exactly what I want you to do!!! I’ll repeat it, with bold to emphasize my exasperation:
    Is anyone else going to tell Rob and Sean that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex? Is anyone going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime, just like reproducing with a sibling or child is?

    Instead, your response to that was “if I had my way, all technology would be banned” which strongly implies that you aren’t going to tell Sean and Rob that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex, and aren’t going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime like reproducing with a sibling or child is.

    That’s what I want you to do.

  56. August 31st, 2011 at 13:31 | #56

    @Rob Tisinai
    “I was hoping to gain insight from George’s reasoning on why infertile closely-related couples should not be allowed to marry, but frankly, his reasoning leads to the (surely unintentional) conclusion that they SHOULD.”

    You are correct Rob. Until George understands that marriage is about the RIGHT to reproduce offspring, and not the ability to reproduce offspring, he’s going to be making a bad argument. What’s worse, his bad argument is taking all the air out of the room and suffocating good arguments. I wonder if he thinks same-sex couples have a right to reproduce offspring using stem cells? It’s strange that he’s never said anything on the subject.

  57. August 31st, 2011 at 13:33 | #57

    @Rob Tisinai
    “Anne, perhaps you can help me out: What is your argument for why an infertile brother/sister couple should not be allowed to marry?”

    I don’t know what Anne is going to say, but I answer “because it is unethical for a brother and sister to conceive children together.”

  58. Spunky
    August 31st, 2011 at 14:42 | #58

    @John Howard That’s not enough. “Unethical” is your synonym for the word “wrong,” and we shouldn’t ban sexual acts because they’re wrong, we should ban them because they hurt people. We ban pedophilia because any bonuses of sexual freedom are completely outweighed by the damage it would do to children.

    How would a brother and sister’s marriage harm anyone? It could weaken the relationship between them and other members of their family, and it might even destroy their family. Is this enough to make a brother/sister marriage illegal? I don’t think so, but most people would disagree. Still, it’s a better answer than “it’s just wrong.”

  59. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 15:24 | #59

    John Howard:
    @Paul H
    “But what exactly do you want me to do? ”
    I said exactly what I want you to do!!! I’ll repeat it, with bold to emphasize my exasperation:

    Please, calm down. I think that we agree more than we disagree here. I don’t understand why you are exasperated.

    Is anyone else going to tell Rob and Sean that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex? Is anyone going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime, just like reproducing with a sibling or child is?
    Instead, your response to that was “if I had my way, all technology would be banned” which strongly implies that you aren’t going to tell Sean and Rob that people only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex, and aren’t going to say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime like reproducing with a sibling or child is.
    That’s what I want you to do.

    Actually, when I asked what you want me to do, I was referring to your comments about how we can advocate for IVF and cloning to be made illegal. That doesn’t have anything to do with responding to particular commenters on this blog.

    And more importantly, I intended for my comment to imply the exact opposite of what you say that it “strongly implies.” Because I think that my comment does cover the scenario that you mentioned — i.e., whether or not people should be allowed to reproduce with members of the same sex. I said that I think that IVF, cloning, and similar technologies should be illegal. And I thought it was clear from the context of my entire comment that I would include the creation of “female sperm” or “male eggs” in that list of technologies, even though I didn’t mention them explicitly. However, if that wasn’t clear, then I hope I have made it clear now.

    I chose to focus on the issue of creating children in a laboratory by ANY method, rather than singling out the one particular scenario that you mentioned, because I think that creation of children in a laboratory by ANY method is immoral, and is a violation of human rights and human dignity, and should be illegal.

  60. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 15:47 | #60

    Emma:
    Paul H. writes, “Even if you believe that infertile elderly couples should be prohibited from marrying (which I don’t believe), how do you know that whatever line you draw is high enough to screen out 100% of potentially fertile couples, while being low enough to serve a meaningful purpose (since very few people get married in their 70s or beyond, as far as I know)?”
    But Paul, that’s the point — we wouldn’t draw the line. We think that elderly couples SHOULD be allowed to marry, as they are, along with all other infertile couples.

    I agree! (And I think I made it clear that I agree with this.)

    We’re not the ones drawing the line, you guys are — by saying that only SOME infertile couples can marry while others cannot.

    No, I believe that infertile couples should be allowed to marry. But if you are trying to say that same-sex couples are infertile, then I think that you are stretching the definition of “infertile” much farther than I am willing to stretch it. In fact, I would bet that the individual members of many same-sex couples ARE fertile, but just not with each other, for reasons that I hope are obvious. And it is those exact reasons which make their union fundamentally different from the union of an opposite-sex couple, whether the opposite-sex couple is fertile or not.

  61. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 15:50 | #61

    Rob Tisinai :
    Wow, Paul H, you seem to be making the case that infertile or elderly couples should not be allowed to marry.

    I am not able to follow your reasoning as to how I am making that case. By my reading of my comments, I am making exactly the opposite case. Please feel free to provide some details on how you reached this conclusion, if you wish.

  62. August 31st, 2011 at 15:59 | #62

    @Paul H
    Paul, it’s not about technology, it is about whether people have a right to reproduce with someone of the same sex: Does a person have the same right to reproduce with either sex?

    I say, no, people only have a right to procreate with someone of the other sex. Whether they can or how they would do it has nothing to do with whether they are allowed and approved by the state to conceive offspring.

    Do you think society should approve and allow the conception of children by same-sex couples? I noticed that you didn’t do what I said I wanted you to do, you didn’t tell Rob and Sean that people only have a right to procreate with someone of the other sex. You didn’t say that reproducing with the same sex should be a crime. I believe that you have made it clear that you think technologies should be illegal, but that wasn’t what I was asking about. And if those technologies are illegal, then same-sex reproduction would be effectively illegal, so why not also say that same-sex reproduction is not a right? Because Sean and Rob are basing their argument on same-sex reproduction being a right, whether the technology is legal or not.

  63. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 16:40 | #63

    @John Howard
    John, as usual, I have to admit that I don’t quite understand where you are coming from. If creating children in a lab is illegal (as I would advocate for), then how could two members of the same sex possibly procreate with someone of the same sex? And if I say that creating children in a lab is an infringement of human rights (as I do believe it is), then I don’t see the need to go further than that. That seems to me to be a pretty definitive statement.

    I think it’s clear from your comments here, and other comments of yours that I have read on this blog, that you and I share some of the same conclusions, but that we use different reasoning to get there. I’m sorry if that bothers you (as it seems that it does), but it is what it is.

  64. Paul H
    August 31st, 2011 at 16:42 | #64

    Paul H:
    ….then how could two members of the same sex possibly procreate with someone of the same sex?

    I meant how could they procreate with each other.

  65. Rob Tisinai
    August 31st, 2011 at 20:07 | #65

    Paul H, you seem to be making the point that marriage is pointless without children — there would be no reason for its existence.

  66. Anne
    August 31st, 2011 at 21:15 | #66

    @Emma
    @Sean
    @Heidi
    @Rob Tisinai
    @Spunky
    @Rich

    As I have mentioned several times before, I have spent a great deal of time in prayer regarding “same-sex marriage”. In a post several weeks ago to Rob, I expressed how I would love nothing more than to believe that “gay marriage” were a legitimate lifestyle for those who engage in it and for the children who are raised in it and for everyone who is touched by it. I despise to feel compelled to tell someone who struggles with something I don’t, that I am opposed to their behavior.

    But deep in my soul, in prayer, I have begged The Master of The Universe and The Ultimate Source of Truth and Love, to lead me to the grace of understanding regarding this deeply sensitive and far reaching issue. I consistently come to the same answer: It will not lead to fulfillment but confusion, for everyone involved.

    I have spent the last few weeks here endeavoring (feeble as my efforts often are) to maintain my sincerity in discussion. I believe that no one is here being intentionally dishonest with themselves or with anyone else.

    On another thread, I have been discussing “weak science” with Patrick: Science which is driven by a desired conclusion, rather than a conclusion drawn by considering evidence, driven by a desire to discover what is true.

    People here who are engaged in the gay lifestyle must defend the conclusion they have already espoused, because the alternative must be a willingness to let go of the that which their life has already been embedded in. Since that is not likely to happen, the conclusion must drive their evidence. And so what is taking place here on The Ruth Blog is not so much a discussion, as a battle.

    I have found for myself that the best position in battle is on my knees in prayer, and that is where I will be spending more time than here over the next few weeks, begging God for the answer to the question “What can I do to help Your children find the fulfillment and peace they are looking for?”

    For now my best answer to that question is to encourage you all to ask yourselves with all the sincerity you can muster:

    “Am I open to what is true or is my desired conclusion driving me to confusion?” and…….

    “If I am wrong, who will I have harmed?”

    I do not believe that hell is a dungeon that God damns us to, but an eternity of regret where we remain tormented by what we know we should have done.

    You will all be in my prayers.

  67. August 31st, 2011 at 22:07 | #67

    @Paul H
    “If creating children in a lab is illegal (as I would advocate for), then how could two members of the same sex possibly procreate with someone of the same sex?”

    They couldn’t, but they could still claim a right to, and compare themselves to infertile couples who cannot procreate. Also, it’s important to note that creating children in a lab is not illegal, it’s not anywhere close to being illegal. There also would be legal challenges based on marriage rights and privacy rights that might overturn a ban even if your advocacy was successful, which it won’t be.

    “And if I say that creating children in a lab is an infringement of human rights (as I do believe it is), then I don’t see the need to go further than that.”

    You are going too far, Paul! You only need to go as far as prohibiting genetic modification and creating people by any means other than a man’s sperm fertilizing a woman’s egg in order to preserve marriage, and that ban would stand because there is no marital or privacy right to create people with someone of the same sex or using modified genes. And, once we do that, it will be possible to incrementally ban other unethical technologies, such as sperm donation and IVF, that harm human rights and make people into commodities and slaves.

    All I’m asking is for you to tell Rob and Sean that same-sex couples don’t have a right to make offspring, that it should be a crime like making offspring with a child or a sibling is. You believe that is true, so it shouldn’t be hard to say so. You can also say that all IVF should be illegal also, that’s fine with me, but it’s not fine with me if you equate procreating with someone of the same sex to an infertile married couple. One has a right that the other doesn’t. That’s the important thing I am asking people to say to Sean and Rob. Can you do that please? Winning the argument here on this blog is the first step in getting Congress to preserve marriage and stop unethical manufacture of people.

  68. Paul H
    September 1st, 2011 at 00:31 | #68

    Rob Tisinai :
    Paul H, you seem to be making the point that marriage is pointless without children — there would be no reason for its existence.

    No, I don’t believe that, and I never intended to say that. If you think I said that, then please show me where.

    I do think that, hypothetically, if there were no such thing as sexual reproduction and no such thing as children, then one of the main reasons for marriage would not exist — but certainly not the only reason.

    What I have said, and what you might have misinterpreted, is that in a hypothetical situation like the one mentioned here, I do not see why there would be a need for the government to license and to regulate marriage. But that is not the same thing as saying that marriage would not or should not exist. Perhaps marriage still would exist, though obviously in a somewhat different form, since sex and reproduction would necessarily be taken out of the equation.

  69. Spunky
    September 1st, 2011 at 07:25 | #69

    @Anne

    When you say “weak science,” I assume you’re referring to studies of gay parenting. If you don’t trust these studies, you should go out and meet gay parents, or even just gay couples in long-term, committed relationships (legally married or not). You’ll find you have a lot more in common than you thought.

    Anne :
    People here who are engaged in the gay lifestyle must defend the conclusion they have already espoused, because the alternative must be a willingness to let go of the that which their life has already been embedded in.

    This is true, but the same reasoning applies to everyone who believes in the Bible passages condemning homosexuality.

  70. TAR
    September 1st, 2011 at 08:43 | #70

    @Rob Tisinai

    I can appreciate your retort; let’s see if I can clarify my position.

    How the union of the dissimilar (specifically when they are complementary) creates greater synergy than the union of the similar can be illustrated by the following:

    Consider four islands, each having two residents. On island number one you find two innate carpenters trained to be master carpenters, island number two you find two innate gardeners trained to be master gardeners, island number three you find one innate carpenter trained to be a master carpenter and one innate gardener trained to be a master gardener, island number four you find one innate carpenter trained to be a gardener and one innate gardener trained to be a carpenter. What kind of environment are you likely to find on each island?

    Island number one will have great shelter but scant food. Island number two will have poor shelter but abundant food. Island number three will have both great shelter and abundant food. Island number four will have adequate shelter and food but neither will be exceptional as neither trained to master their respective innate skills.

    I think we can agree that the optimum environment created (synergy) is on island three where we find the coupling of the two most dissimilar complementary beings. Notice how the synergy exists regardless of intent or ability of the master carpenter and gardener to procreate. Procreative ability would just be icing on the cake.

    When I speak of males and females being dissimilar complementary beings, I am referring to how one’s strengths balance the other’s weaknesses. The coupling of male and female produces a balanced whole that same-sex couplings do not.

    Males and females complete each other—physically and emotionally. The female is physically designed to receive the male, the male’s (testosterone derived and driven) characteristics are balanced by the female’s (estrogen derived and driven) characteristics, the physical power of the male is balanced by the grace of the female, etc, etc…

    I very much see the differences in males and females as designed (whether by God or nature is a topic worthy of discussion but irrelevant to my position) with the very specific purpose of preparing individuals to become exactly one half of a balanced and greater whole.

    As for your question regarding how same-sex couples differ from infertile opposite-sex couples in the context of deserving the very special title and rights of marriage, my answer should now be obvious. Same-sex couples consist of two who are much more similar than dissimilar and therefore their coupling does not create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts, so society should not reward same-sex coupling in any way greater than it would reward the individual parts. Whereas the intent or ability of males and females to procreate has no effect on their coupling being the union of two who are innately more dissimilar than similar. Their coupling creates a whole much greater than the sum of its parts and therefore society should reward their coupling much greater than it would reward the individual parts.

  71. September 1st, 2011 at 10:10 | #71

    Anne, based on your repeated misunderstanding of what I said in my “Protect the Children” video — virtually every argument you ascribed to me was an argument I did not actually make — I have to request that you ask yourself these same questions: “Am I open to what is true or is my desired conclusion driving me to confusion?” and “If I am wrong, who will I have harmed?” (then google “Shirley Tan”).

    And I promise I will continue asking those question of myself as well. Thank you for your prayers.

  72. Paul H
    September 1st, 2011 at 10:39 | #72

    John Howard:
    They couldn’t, but they could still claim a right to, and compare themselves to infertile couples who cannot procreate. Also, it’s important to note that creating children in a lab is not illegal, it’s not anywhere close to being illegal. There also would be legal challenges based on marriage rights and privacy rights that might overturn a ban even if your advocacy was successful, which it won’t be.

    I agree that advocacy for IVF to be made illegal is unlikely to succeed in the short term or medium term, maybe the long term as well.

    “And if I say that creating children in a lab is an infringement of human rights (as I do believe it is), then I don’t see the need to go further than that.”
    You are going too far, Paul! You only need to go as far as prohibiting genetic modification and creating people by any means other than a man’s sperm fertilizing a woman’s egg in order to preserve marriage, and that ban would stand because there is no marital or privacy right to create people with someone of the same sex or using modified genes. And, once we do that, it will be possible to incrementally ban other unethical technologies, such as sperm donation and IVF, that harm human rights and make people into commodities and slaves.

    So it sounds like we agree on the end goal, but not on how best to get there. Look, it’s the same with abortion. Some pro-lifers take an incremental approach, whereas some want an all-or-nothing approach. I think that there are merits to both approaches, depending on the situation. I have read many of your comments here, and I am sorry, but I am just not convinced that your suggested approach will work.

    All I’m asking is for you to tell Rob and Sean that same-sex couples don’t have a right to make offspring, that it should be a crime like making offspring with a child or a sibling is. You believe that is true, so it shouldn’t be hard to say so.

    I think I have said something that is equivalent to that. If my wording doesn’t satisfy you, I’m sorry.

    You can also say that all IVF should be illegal also, that’s fine with me, but it’s not fine with me if you equate procreating with someone of the same sex to an infertile married couple. One has a right that the other doesn’t.

    I don’t think that I have equated those two concepts.

    That’s the important thing I am asking people to say to Sean and Rob. Can you do that please? Winning the argument here on this blog is the first step in getting Congress to preserve marriage and stop unethical manufacture of people.

    First of all, I don’t see how anyone is going to “win” an argument on this blog. People present their positions, and others (both commenters and lurkers) draw their conclusions. That’s it.

    And I certainly don’t see how arguments on this blog will lead to getting Congress to take specific actions.

    Sir, I think we must agree to disagree on the best approach on this issue, while still hopefully agreeing on many goals and conclusions.

  73. Spunky
    September 1st, 2011 at 10:52 | #73

    TAR :

    When I speak of males and females being dissimilar complementary beings, I am referring to how one’s strengths balance the other’s weaknesses. The coupling of male and female produces a balanced whole that same-sex couplings do not.
    Males and females complete each other—physically and emotionally. The female is physically designed to receive the male, the male’s (testosterone derived and driven) characteristics are balanced by the female’s (estrogen derived and driven) characteristics, the physical power of the male is balanced by the grace of the female, etc, etc…

    Spoken like someone who has never met a happily married gay couple. Many opposite-sex relationships involve complementary qualities of males and females, but many do not. Furthermore, many same-sex relationships also involve complementary aspects of each member of the couple, regardless of sex. You use generic terms like “the female” and “the male,” as though generalities apply to everyone based on their sex, but again, they don’t. They might apply to some people (maybe even most people), but certainly not to all people. I encourage you to meet gay couples, so you can understand how relationships can work without the sexes being the same.

    Same-sex couples consist of two who are much more similar than dissimilar and therefore their coupling does not create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts, so society should not reward same-sex coupling in any way greater than it would reward the individual parts.

    You are prejudging people based on their sex, plain and simple. You cannot speak for every single male or every single female in this country. You have no idea how similar or dissimilar the personalities of any two males and/or females are from each other based only on their sex.

    I’m sure Rob can give a better response than I, but TAR, I want to convey there is no reason to judge or limit people based on their sex.

  74. September 1st, 2011 at 11:09 | #74

    @TAR: “When I speak of males and females being dissimilar complementary beings, I am referring to how one’s strengths balance the other’s weaknesses. The coupling of male and female produces a balanced whole that same-sex couplings do not.”

    Is it your position that EVERY possible, imaginable, marriage-eligible opposite-sex couple is more “balanced” than ANY possible, imaginable same-sex couple?

  75. September 1st, 2011 at 12:39 | #75

    @Paul H
    Me: “All I’m asking is for you to tell Rob and Sean that same-sex couples don’t have a right to make offspring, that it should be a crime like making offspring with a child or a sibling is. You believe that is true, so it shouldn’t be hard to say so. ”

    Paul H: “I think I have said something that is equivalent to that. If my wording doesn’t satisfy you, I’m sorry.”

    Your wording equates a same-sex couple’s right to use stem cell derived gametes to a married couple’s right to use any form of technology whatsoever. It says, paraphrasing, “unless we can outlaw every last scrap of technology that people use to have a baby, then darn it, we’ll just have to let labs build human babies from whatever hybrid mutant DNA they want to. We’ll just have to accept that same-sex couples have the right to conceive offspring using technology, same as husband and wife using IVF do.”

    Paul H: “I don’t think that I have equated those two concepts.”

    You equate the two concepts when you insist they should be banned together, as one big “technology” and refuse to say that people don’t have a right to make offspring with someone of the same sex. We are going to win the argument on this blog as soon as we all tell that to Rob and Sean. I am trying to get Congress to enact a law so that we actually end same-sex marriage and stop the idea of Postgenderism and preserve equality and sexual reproduction. It’s a big deal what winning the argument would accomplish. Winning requires cornering the opponent, so they have to confront the radical flaws in their argument. Right now they can pretend they don’t care about procreation rights, and they aren’t trying to change marriage by stripping procreation rights from it.

  76. September 1st, 2011 at 14:18 | #76

    @Paul H
    “And I certainly don’t see how arguments on this blog will lead to getting Congress to take specific actions.”

    Here is the plan: You, Anne, Glenn, TAR, and as many other marriage defenders as possible start telling Rob and Sean that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to conceive offspring together, and all marriages should be allowed to conceive offspring together. Stick with that argument for a while, until they are forced to explain why they disagree and why same-sex couples should be allowed to conceive offspring together or marriage should not allow the couple to have children. Then, the next step is for Dr. J to publicize the news and call on Congress to enact an Egg and Sperm law, like Margaret Somerville and the PCBE have called for, and for the news to spread until it gets on some Congressman’s radar and they realize they can do something remarkable and popular by preserving marriage and equal rights.

  77. September 1st, 2011 at 14:48 | #77

    Paul H, thanks for that clarification. Now, though, it seems to me that even though you’re NOT saying there would be no reason for an infertile couple to marry, you ARE implying there would be no reason for the government to recognize that marriage.

  78. Paul H
    September 1st, 2011 at 14:57 | #78

    John,

    It seems that you and I think about these issues quite differently, as evidenced by the fact that I don’t recognize my arguments or beliefs in the way you have restated them. Perhaps we are simply coming at these issues with a different set of assumptions.

  79. TAR
    September 1st, 2011 at 16:12 | #79

    @Anne

    Just want to let you know that I visit the Ruth Blog often and from what I have read of your posts, you have a solid foundation, patience, and talent for expressing your view. Please continue to do so here and in other public forums. What you have to say needs to be heard.
    There will always be a battle between different ideologies as long as we live in a free society where the government represents the governed. A battle of words and ideas is always good and healthy for society.

    I find it interesting that many of the gay rights activists who fought so hard to get people out of the closet are now the one’s trying to shove people in the closet. They have become experts in silencing their opposition. They woo people with badges of honor that declare all who agree with their agenda as being enlightened, highly educated and wonderfully tolerant and they deliver woe to those who may disagree as they are quickly labeled religious zealots, ignorant bigots and/or homophobes. I am sure you, like I, have more than once experienced this tactic.

    Keep in mind that Truth always trumps intellectual half-truths. I encourage you to continue to seek Truth on bended knee. I only ask that every now and then you unbend those knees, stand firm, and get back in the battle…

  80. September 1st, 2011 at 16:51 | #80

    Paul H :
    John,
    It seems that you and I think about these issues quite differently, as evidenced by the fact that I don’t recognize my arguments or beliefs in the way you have restated them. Perhaps we are simply coming at these issues with a different set of assumptions.

    Well, let’s examine our assumptions. I say that people only have a right to procreate as the sex they were born as, with someone of the other sex, and that people do not have a right to procreate with someone of the same sex. Do you disagree with me about that? Do you think people have an equal right to reproduce with both sexes?

  81. Ruth
    September 1st, 2011 at 18:17 | #81

    @Anne
    Jesus is pro-prayer closet.
    All the best to you, going forward into whatever, and whenever, the Holy Spirit leads.

  82. Anne
    September 2nd, 2011 at 04:38 | #82

    @TAR
    @Ruth

    Thank you both for your encouraging words!

    Rest assured, I will never abandon the stand for Truth. Sometimes strategy in battle calls for a temporary retreat in order to reevaluate your opponent and technique.

    I have found that sometimes in debate with a person driven by a lie that they do not recognize, that once you expose them to the lie, it is helpful to leave them to their thoughts about it. The truth is written in our hearts. If they will turn to their hearts as I have asked, they will find it there.

    In the mean time, I will spend some time with The Author of Truth and ask Him how else I can help His children to find the happiness He has designed them for.

    I would not consider the retreat at this time but for the fact that you are both here and in the great company of the likes of bman, Leo, Deb, DOE, Glenn….et al., to hold down the fort!!!

    I would have mentioned my prayers for you in my last post, but as people who pray, you must already know that I would be holding you all up to Him.

    I am here with you in prayer always, and perhaps by post soon again.
    In His Love……

  83. Paul H
    September 2nd, 2011 at 08:28 | #83

    John Howard :

    Paul H :
    John,
    It seems that you and I think about these issues quite differently, as evidenced by the fact that I don’t recognize my arguments or beliefs in the way you have restated them. Perhaps we are simply coming at these issues with a different set of assumptions.

    Well, let’s examine our assumptions. I say that people only have a right to procreate as the sex they were born as, with someone of the other sex, and that people do not have a right to procreate with someone of the same sex. Do you disagree with me about that? Do you think people have an equal right to reproduce with both sexes?

    I don’t tend to think of these issues in terms of a person’s right to procreate. My opinion is that it is not a good idea to open the can of worms of who does and does not have the right to procreate, because then that opens the door for people to say, “well maybe this group or that group (e.g., mentally disabled, handicapped, poor, ethnic minorities, etc.) shouldn’t have the right to procreate.”

    Instead, I think in terms of a child’s right not to be manufactured as a commodity. That’s where I’m coming from. And if we can get people to agree that children should not be manufactured as commodities, then there is no issue of a same-sex couple being able to procreate with each other, because it is not possible in any way other than manufacturing children.

    I don’t claim to be certain that my approach is the right one, but nevertheless that is how I approach the issue.

    But I do think that you are pointing out a real problem that we are likely to confront sooner rather than later — i.e., the possibility of producing sperm from a woman’s stem cells, or eggs from a man’s stem cells, so that a child could be conceived whose biological parents are two men or two women. I think that such a process would be a violation of the human dignity of any child conceived that way, even moreso than for a child conceived by IVF. So on that point, I think we agree.

  84. Paul H
    September 2nd, 2011 at 08:55 | #84

    Rob Tisinai:
    Paul H, thanks for that clarification. Now, though, it seems to me that even though you’re NOT saying there would be no reason for an infertile couple to marry, you ARE implying there would be no reason for the government to recognize that marriage.

    Nice try. :-)

    No, I’m not implying that, and I thought I had made it clear with my previous comments that I don’t mean to imply that.

    But let’s suppose for a minute that I *do* think it is OK, at least in theory, for the government to refuse to grant marriage licenses for infertile couples. Now, I *don’t* actually think this, but let’s just suppose for a minute that I do (since you seem determined to think that I do).

    The problem then is that having the government deny marriage licenses based on infertility would present a whole host of problems, if we actually tried to implement such a system. Here is a partial list of problems that would be likely to occur:

    – The government would have to invade the privacy of every engaged couple, to find out if they are fertile. Men and women would have to be tested for fertility, something which normally does not happen prior to marriage.

    – Fertility tests as mentioned in the previous point would present a moral conundrum for Catholic men, who would not be able to provide sperm for a fertility test without committing a mortal sin.

    – Fertility tests are nowhere near definitive. Just because a test indicates some fertility problems, it does not necessarily mean that the person is completely 100% infertile forever.

    – Most importantly, this system would put the government in charge of deciding who can and can’t be granted a marriage license in such a way that this power could very easily be abused.

    In other words, there just is no way that denying marriage licenses to infertile couples would work in real life, without lots of problems and lots of potential for abuse — and that’s if I thought that denying marriage licenses to infertile couples was OK in theory, which again I don’t.

  85. Betsy
    September 2nd, 2011 at 11:18 | #85

    Three cheers for Anne!

  86. September 2nd, 2011 at 12:14 | #86

    @Paul H
    Do you think people have a right to reproduce offspring with a sibling? Yes or no.

    Every couple that we allow to marry, we are saying, and we ought to be saying, that they have a right to conceive offspring together. If we allow a couple to marry, we have to let them try to conceive using their own genes. That is what marriage has always meant, it has never said “oh, but don’t reproduce using your own genes.”

    My opinion is that it is not a good idea to open the can of worms of who does and does not have the right to procreate, because then that opens the door for people to say, “well maybe this group or that group (e.g., mentally disabled, handicapped, poor, ethnic minorities, etc.) shouldn’t have the right to procreate.”

    We wouldn’t be opening any can of worms, because we have already answered those questions, with our marriage laws! Everyone that we allow to marry, that means they are allowed to procreate with their spouse using their own genes. So if we let the mentally disabled and handicapped marry, and the poor and ethnic minorities marry, then they are allowed to procreate together!!! That is what I mean when I say “marriage must continue to protect procreation rights!!” It’s precisely so that we don’t “open the can of worms” of deciding which couples are allowed to procreate.

    Instead, I think in terms of a child’s right not to be manufactured as a commodity. That’s where I’m coming from. And if we can get people to agree that children should not be manufactured as commodities, then there is no issue of a same-sex couple being able to procreate with each other, because it is not possible in any way other than manufacturing children.

    I agree with you, that’s perfectly compatible with what I am saying. And it leads to an unavoidable conclusion that children have a right to be conceived by a man and a woman, and to not be a product of two men or two women, and therefore that two men or two women do not have a right to make that child. That’s inescapable, so I don’t get why you balk at applying it to the adults involved in the marriage debate, by saying that same-sex couples don’t have a right to make offspring. That is your inescapable conclusion, so just say it to Rob and Sean!

    Like this: “Rob and Sean, people do not have a right to conceive offspring with someone of the same sex, only with someone of the other sex. And marriage should continue to protect and affirm the right to procreate.” OK? Not just here, but from now on. You are trying to stop SSM right?

  87. TAR
    September 2nd, 2011 at 12:40 | #87

    @Spunky

    I have met lesbian couples who present a picture of being happy and content in their partnerships. I have viewed a number of documentaries about gay and lesbian couples many of whom appear very happy in their relationships. I have read some accounts of not so happy and abusive gay and lesbian relationships. I am sure same-sex relationships fall on a broad range of the happiness and contentment scale.

    Let me make it clear that I believe in a free society based on a live and let live philosophy. I do not advocate society denying homosexuals the right to live their lives as they so choose. If forming a lifelong committed same-sex partnership brings you true happiness, then by all means do it. Just don’t expect society to recognize and reward your partnership as something it clearly is not.

    Marriage is the title reserved for the very special relationship that is only formed between one man and one woman who fully commit to each other and any life their union creates till death do they part. Men and women are fundamentally different and not interchangeable.

    All opposite-sex couples involve the complementary qualities of male and female by virtue of them being opposite sex couples, but not all opposite-sex couples consist of two who should be a couple much less married. Two need to be compatible on many levels before even thinking about making a lifelong commitment to each other.

    I categorize people on the basis of sex. Humans, with very few exceptions are born either male or female. I do not hold to rigid gender stereotypes. Boys run the gamut of being very effeminate to very masculine, but they all remain boys destined to be men. The beauty of the world we live in is girls run the same gamut and they all are destined to be women. So, no matter what attracts one in a mate, whether it is the more feminine or masculine, there is always an opposite-sex match.

  88. TAR
    September 2nd, 2011 at 12:50 | #88

    @Rob Tisinai

    You ask, “Is it your position that EVERY possible, imaginable, marriage-eligible opposite-sex couple is more ‘balanced’ than ANY possible, imaginable same-sex couple?”

    My answer: It is my position that on average EVERY possible, imaginable, marriage-eligible opposite-sex couple will be more “balanced” than EVERY possible, imaginable same-sex couple.

  89. September 2nd, 2011 at 15:30 | #89

    @TAR
    “Humans, with very few exceptions are born either male or female.”

    There has never been a true hermaphrodite human, who has both mothered and fathered offspring, or who has changed from being able to mother offspring to being able to father offspring. Every person has one sex they are able to reproduce as, or, if they haven’t yet reproduced, one sex they are are more likely to be able to reproduce as. That sex should be the sex they are raised as and live their lives as, though adults ought to be allowed to dress as and act and even legally be whichever sex they want, with the exception that people should only ever be allowed to try to reproduce as the sex they would be most likely to reproduce as if they had their own healthy gametes.

    So we can say that EVERY possible, imaginable marriage-eligible opposite sex couple may ethically conceive of offspring together, but EVERY possible, imaginable same-sex couple would unethically conceive offspring together. (In cases where a person’s legal sex doesn’t match their most-likely-to-conceive-as sex, they would be allowed to marry as their legal sex but would be privately infertile and a lab would have to stop helping them when it was discovered that their actual sex was incompatible.)

  90. September 2nd, 2011 at 15:40 | #90

    @TAR
    “Let me make it clear that I believe in a free society based on a live and let live philosophy. I do not advocate society denying homosexuals the right to live their lives as they so choose.”

    That’s true up to a point, but once people start doing things that affect other people, things change, right? And it should be obvious that there is a need for laws and rules that limit what people can do.

    We can’t let people marry their sister, right? And we can’t let people build Frankenstein monsters in their labs, and we shouldn’t let people create cloned humans, or put human genes in chimpanzees, or chimpanzee genes in humans, or, create babies from two parents of the same sex.

    It doesn’t make you a totalitarian socialist to accept that we need some laws and rules, it makes you a conservative, rather than a radical anarchist.

  91. Rob Tisinai
    September 2nd, 2011 at 19:23 | #91

    @TAR: ” It is my position that on average EVERY possible, imaginable, marriage-eligible opposite-sex couple will be more “balanced” than EVERY possible, imaginable same-sex couple.”

    I look forward to learning how you plan to test your theory.

  92. Spunky
    September 2nd, 2011 at 20:18 | #92

    TAR :
    @Spunky
    Let me make it clear that I believe in a free society based on a live and let live philosophy. I do not advocate society denying homosexuals the right to live their lives as they so choose. If forming a lifelong committed same-sex partnership brings you true happiness, then by all means do it. Just don’t expect society to recognize and reward your partnership as something it clearly is not.

    But don’t you think society should recognize gay couples in the ways that their relationships are completely identical to opposite-sex relationships? Specifically, with regards to
    health insurance,
    hospital visitation rights,
    inheritance issues,
    their spouses getting deported, Social Security survivor benefits (not the same as inheritance), federal tax benefits, and retirement benefits, and more.

  93. Paul H
    September 3rd, 2011 at 04:07 | #93

    John Howard:
    Every couple that we allow to marry, we are saying, and we ought to be saying, that they have a right to conceive offspring together. If we allow a couple to marry, we have to let them try to conceive using their own genes. That is what marriage has always meant, it has never said “oh, but don’t reproduce using your own genes.”

    I think that this paragraph gets to the fundamental difference in how the two of us look at this issue. I have never heard anyone, on either side of the marriage redefinition issue, speak in terms of a marriage license granting the right to conceive offspring together.

    I’m not saying that this point of view is way out in left field, because yes, the pro-marriage side (i.e., those who oppose marriage redefinition) does believe that married couples should and typically will be open to conceiving children, and that marriage is the situation in which children should be conceived.

    But I just don’t see anyone talking in terms of conception being a right that is granted by a marriage license. This would seem to imply that the couple did not have the right to conceive before they were granted the marriage license. In a moral sense this may be true, but when you talk about rights, people tend to think in legal terms more than in moral terms. And that makes your statement sound odd since an unmarried couple who conceive a child do not face any legal penalties.

    We wouldn’t be opening any can of worms, because we have already answered those questions, with our marriage laws! Everyone that we allow to marry, that means they are allowed to procreate with their spouse using their own genes. So if we let the mentally disabled and handicapped marry, and the poor and ethnic minorities marry, then they are allowed to procreate together!!! That is what I mean when I say “marriage must continue to protect procreation rights!!” It’s precisely so that we don’t “open the can of worms” of deciding which couples are allowed to procreate.

    But people don’t necessarily see it this way. For one thing, I don’t think that most advocates of marriage redefinition necessarily think that marriage “means they are allowed to procreate with their spouse using their own genes.” Maybe you are onto something in that they inevitably will think that way, after marriage has been redefined for some time, but I don’t think that most of them are thinking that way yet.

    And for another thing, it is quite conceivable that a certain class of people could be allowed to marry, but not allowed to reproduce (e.g., be forcibly sterilized), or be strongly discouraged from reproducing (e.g., be highly targeted by the abortion industry as currently happens with poor, urban minorities).

    And it leads to an unavoidable conclusion that children have a right to be conceived by a man and a woman, and to not be a product of two men or two women, and therefore that two men or two women do not have a right to make that child.

    Absolutely, and I think I have already said that I agree with this.

  94. Paul H
    September 3rd, 2011 at 04:26 | #94

    TAR:
    Let me make it clear that I believe in a free society based on a live and let live philosophy. I do not advocate society denying homosexuals the right to live their lives as they so choose. If forming a lifelong committed same-sex partnership brings you true happiness, then by all means do it. Just don’t expect society to recognize and reward your partnership as something it clearly is not.
    Marriage is the title reserved for the very special relationship that is only formed between one man and one woman who fully commit to each other and any life their union creates till death do they part. Men and women are fundamentally different and not interchangeable.

    Very well said!

  95. TAR
    September 3rd, 2011 at 08:07 | #95

    @John Howard

    Thanks for the information.

    I should have been a little more specific and said humans, with very few exceptions (XXY) are born either male (XY) or female (XX). And even then I think those who are born XXY are either sterile or produce sperm which would lend to classification as males. I really need to do some research on hermaphrodites; I have a limited knowledge in this area.

    I hold that a person’s “legal” sex should be their “most-likely-to-conceive-as sex.” Society can allow for people to express themselves in all manners of dress and behavior. No one should be required to meet rigid gender stereotypes. Society needs to recognize and remain consistent with what nature has put in place and that means those XY are recognized as biologically and legally males and those XX are recognized as biologically and legally females.

    I adamantly oppose society using science to modify gametes to allow for the creation of life outside the natural union of man and woman. I am not opposed to society using science to facilitate the creation of life by helping a married man and woman use their unmodified gametes to create a life. I do not like the idea of anyone using donor sperm or egg. If a couple is married and one is infertile, then I believe adoption is the best way to bring a child into their lives. There are far too many children who need a mom and dad to fill in for their missing mother and father, for a couple to intentionally create a life knowing it will be denied a relationship with either his/her mother or father.

  96. TAR
    September 3rd, 2011 at 08:24 | #96

    @John Howard

    Society absolutely needs laws and rules governing behavior. A society without social norms is a society in anomie (chaos). My philosophy is the best societal laws and rules are those that protect and not direct. Individuals should have wide range and free ability to express themselves in any way they see fit as long as their expression does not have an ill affect on others. You have every right to swing your fist as hard and often as you like, but society curtails your right as soon as you take aim at my nose.

    Society by nature is conservative. Society like any organism seeks homeostasis and resists any radical quick change. Traditions are the methods used to pass on lessons learned from past generations to future generations and even though some traditions rightfully fade away, they need to do so slowly over time to make sure they are no longer needed.

  97. TAR
    September 3rd, 2011 at 08:32 | #97

    @Rob Tisinai

    I am looking for the islands and soliciting carpenters unions and gardening clubs as we speak…;-)

  98. TAR
    September 3rd, 2011 at 08:53 | #98

    @Spunky

    I am a libertarian bounded by very strong fiscal conservative roots. Gay couples should receive all the rights society gives to couples, but the very special title and rights of marriage should be reserved for the very special coupling that only takes place between one man and one woman who have fully committed to each other and any life their loving union creates till death do they part.

  99. September 3rd, 2011 at 14:56 | #99

    @TAR
    “I hold that a person’s “legal” sex should be their “most-likely-to-conceive-as sex.” ”

    You are saying we should change the laws that allow people to change their legal sex? I agree there is something obnoxious about those laws and the way they are using drivers license renewal forms to ask every single person if they have changed sex, as if it was a common thing for people to do, and possible! As if anyone could get pregnant or get someone pregnant, or that they had the same right to do both.

    And I agree that people shouldn’t be able to simply change their legal sex on a whim, without it being to correct for a mistake or to match a public life of living as the other sex (even if people suspect or know that the person is a former man). Changing legal sex shouldn’t make a same-sex couple eligible to marry or procreate or let a man attend a woman’s college or allow a male soldier to escape combat duty.

    But I am sympathetic to genuine cases of gender identity disorder or gender ambiguity at birth that caused them to mis-identified. Those cases are out there (though hopefully will decrease in the future with better tests), but for now it’s a given that legal sex will not always match the sex that person should be allowed to conceive as, so the definition of “man” and “woman” used in the Egg And Sperm law must not be their legal sex, it must be their most-likely-to-conceive-as sex. Which means we don’t have to force people to fix their legal sex, which would disrupt lives and hurt people probably. But we should fix the way the state asks and determines legal sex to make it less obnoxious and trivial seeming.

  100. September 3rd, 2011 at 15:08 | #100

    TAR :
    I am a libertarian bounded by very strong fiscal conservative roots. Gay couples should receive all the rights society gives to couples, but the very special title and rights of marriage should be reserved for the very special coupling that only takes place between one man and one woman who have fully committed to each other and any life their loving union creates till death do they part.

    The “very special rights of marriage” are to join together as one flesh in the state of matrimony, which means “mother-making” and having procreative sexual intercourse and possibly creating children together, with each other. Gay couples should have all the OTHER rights society gives to marriages, but they should certainly not be given the right to join in matrimony aka making babies together.

  101. Spunky
    September 3rd, 2011 at 16:28 | #101

    TAR :
    @Spunky
    I am a libertarian bounded by very strong fiscal conservative roots. Gay couples should receive all the rights society gives to couples, but the very special title and rights of marriage should be reserved for the very special coupling that only takes place between one man and one woman who have fully committed to each other and any life their loving union creates till death do they part.

    I don’t understand. Which of the benefits I listed do you believe same-sex couples should be entitled to (if any)?

  102. Spunky
    September 4th, 2011 at 18:39 | #102

    Sorry, that last bit “I don’t understand. Which of the benefits I listed do you believe same-sex couples should be entitled to (if any)?” should be outside the quotes…

  103. September 5th, 2011 at 00:06 | #103

    @Spunky
    “Which of the benefits I listed do you believe same-sex couples should be entitled to (if any)? ”

    TAR, how about answering Spunky’s question this way: “All of the rights except the right to create offspring together.” Please consider how much could be resolved by agreeing to that, before saying something besides “that’s a good idea,” OK?

  104. Spunky
    September 5th, 2011 at 15:31 | #104

    John, I finally know what you’re talking about (clicked on your name). Whatever TAR says, I’m not an expert on same-sex reproduction using genetic engineering (in fact, I know nothing about it). If the only risk of the procedure is the survival of the embryo, then I’m okay with it (as you might guess, I’m pro-choice). There are probably other reasons why you’re against it, but I don’t have the time to do a full investigation right now. However, I’m guessing other people are in my shoes, and so you’re not going to have a lot of fully-educated opinions on same-sex conception. I shouldn’t speak for everybody, but that’s my guess.

  105. TAR
    September 5th, 2011 at 17:34 | #105

    @Spunky

    @John Howard

    I am more conservative than you are JH. I not only oppose any involvement of society in any attempt by same-sex couples to use a lab and borrowed, or their own modified, gametes to create life, I also oppose society giving gay partnerships benefits equal to those it reserves for marriages.

    It should be fairly clear as to where I would come down on any number of issues regarding how society should treat gay partnerships when it comes to title and benefits, but if not let me spell it out. Gay partnerships should be called “gay partnerships” and the investment society makes in gay partnerships should be dictated by the return on investment they provide society. As a rule society should invest greatest in that which provides the greatest return on investment.

    Gay partnerships are not marriages in form or function and do not deserve equivalent title; on average gay partnerships do not produce the same high degree of return on investment that marriages provide, so they do not deserve equivalent benefits.

    As for my positions regarding a few of the specific benefits Spunky asked about:

    Health insurance benefits are private issues and should be determined between the individual and the company offering the insurance. Health care is a product to be bought and sold and not a basic human right to be guaranteed by society. If a private company wants to pay the costs associated with offering same-sex couples the same health insurance benefits it offers married couples, then that is its prerogative. Since government employees work for the public, then the public should decide on the extent public funds are used to provide healthcare benefits to same-sex partners. I might agree to some benefits being extended, but certainly not to the degree they are extended to marriages. I would expect gay partnerships to pay a premium in accordance with the health risks associated with being in a same-sex partnership.

    Hospital visitation rights are also a private issue and should be determined by the hospital administration and patient. In my opinion, hospitals should not deny access to anyone welcomed by the patient.

    Inheritance issues, I am for wills and against government taxing anyone in death. A person’s estate has already been taxed as it was being accrued. I do not believe in the need or right of government to tax the dead to redistribute wealth. I believe every individual, gay or straight, has the right to do with his/her private property as he/she sees fit, in life and in death.

  106. September 5th, 2011 at 23:44 | #106

    @TAR
    “I not only oppose any involvement of society in any attempt by same-sex couples to use a lab and borrowed, or their own modified, gametes to create life, I also oppose society giving gay partnerships benefits equal to those it reserves for marriages.”

    Are you saying you only oppose the “involvement of society” but are against prohibiting the actual attempt? As if they could do it with their own money and it would be OK because the taxpayers wouldn’t be paying for it? Or it would be OK as long as the government doesn’t regulate it? It’s not even theoretically possible, let alone practically possible, for society not to be involved. We are already paying for it and we will have to regulate it. We should prohibit it, it would be much better public policy than to allow same-sex reproduction.

  107. Spunky
    September 6th, 2011 at 07:09 | #107

    Thanks very much for making it crystal clear TAR. I completely understand your views.

    The reason I ask these questions is because in the Ruth Blog and NOM’s main website, I hear a lot of “marriage is this, marriage is that.” So I have a good sense of people’s views on marriage, but not such a good sense of what people think about gay rights.

    I’d love to hear Betsy’s and Dr. Morse’s opinions on these as well, as they’re the ones who run this site. If they’ve already addressed these issues somewhere, could someone provide a link?

  108. Anne
    September 6th, 2011 at 07:21 | #108

    @Rob Tisinai
    “@TAR: ” It is my position that on average EVERY possible, imaginable, marriage-eligible opposite-sex couple will be more “balanced” than EVERY possible, imaginable same-sex couple.”

    I look forward to learning how you plan to test your theory.”

    Plug + Plug = 2 Portless Plugs

    Socket + Socket = 2 Empty Sockets

    Plug + Socket = Balance

    Even if they don’t produce anything, they were still made to fit together.

    Puzzles don’t produce anything but the pictures they were designed to reflect. But the beauty is only reflected when the pieces come together as they were designed to.

  109. Spunky
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:48 | #109

    @Anne
    I think Rob meant it with regards to people’s relationships. As in, can you show that every male-female couple is more balanced than every male-male or female-female relationship? (By the way, what does “balanced” even mean?)

  110. Anne
    September 6th, 2011 at 16:49 | #110

    @Spunky
    “By the way, what does “balanced” even mean?”

    “to arrange, adjust, or proportion the parts of, symmetrically” – dictionary.com

  111. September 6th, 2011 at 21:46 | #111

    @Anne
    Anne, I know it’s probably embarrassing and you’re searching for a nice way to say it, but doesn’t “balanced” have something to do with sexual intercourse and sexual reproduction? Balanced means the male half and the female half of a new person are present in the formation of new people. There are other areas where there is balance also, which are important and useful and good, but do you agree that sexual intercourse and making new babies is where the balance is most clear and absolute?

  112. TAR
    September 7th, 2011 at 07:22 | #112

    @John Howard

    Good questions, I had to think about them for awhile. I am comfortable with the following answer:

    Just as society needs to actively encourage the creation of life within the confines of marriage, society needs to actively discourage some (like those deemed too young) and actively prohibit others (those deemed too closely related and same-sex couples) from creating life. What we know about the problems inherent in a genetic line becoming too concentrated, gives society the right to prohibit those too closely related from procreating. And, no matter how much “love” or commitment exists between two in a same-sex couple, their coupling has been denied any procreative function and society should respect this natural law.

    The first and foremost right every human comes into the world with is to have one mother and one father, society should prohibit any actions by any person(s) who would seek to create life with the full intent of denying life this fundamental right.

    There is a curiosity innate in humans and we find ourselves always wanting to push the envelope using science to discover and manipulate the natural world in which we live. Humans also have an innate sense of right and wrong (morality) and when it comes to the subject of creating new life our morality must temper our curiosity.

  113. TAR
    September 7th, 2011 at 07:30 | #113

    @Anne

    Well said, it really is that simple isn’t it…

    I would like to add:

    Plug + Plug = 2 Portless plugs with no function.

    Socket + Socket = 2 Empty Sockets with no function.

    Plug + Socket = Balance with function.

  114. TAR
    September 7th, 2011 at 07:39 | #114

    @Spunky

    Anne’s example is analogous to human relationships. Plugs and sockets, by design, form a balanced and functional relationship when coupled together. The coupling of two plugs or two sockets (two similarly designed things) creates a couple whose qualities skew in one direction and lack function, whereas the coupling of one plug and one socket (two dissimilar, but complementary by design, things) creates a couple whose qualities balance and have function. If you are still unclear as to what is meant by “balance” I encourage you to read back through the entire thread.

  115. September 7th, 2011 at 11:55 | #115

    @TAR
    “Just as society needs to actively encourage the creation of life within the confines of marriage, society needs to actively discourage some (like those deemed too young) and actively prohibit others (those deemed too closely related and same-sex couples) from creating life.”

    Ah, good, I was afraid you were another uber-libertarian who opposes “actively prohibiting” same-sex couples from creating life because of some ideological belief in total freedom from government laws or federal laws. Also, there are some who take the position that we should prohibit all use of technology to create life, as though same-sex couples had a right to create life just like infertile marriages. It is great to see that you recognize they are like incestuous couples, not infertile couples, who are actively prohibited from creating life, not merely unable to.

  116. Spunky
    September 7th, 2011 at 20:16 | #116

    TAR :
    @Spunky
    Anne’s example is analogous to human relationships. Plugs and sockets, by design, form a balanced and functional relationship when coupled together. The coupling of two plugs or two sockets (two similarly designed things) creates a couple whose qualities skew in one direction and lack function, whereas the coupling of one plug and one socket (two dissimilar, but complementary by design, things) creates a couple whose qualities balance and have function.

    1) Analogies are great for helping people understand your way of thinking, but they don’t actually prove anything unless the two concepts being compared are completely, well, analogous. I’m not going to argue that human relationships and plugs and sockets are different things. If you really think they are exactly the same, then we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

    2) Just because a relationship can’t produce children doesn’t mean it has no function.

    TAR :
    If you are still unclear as to what is meant by “balance” I encourage you to read back through the entire thread.

    The term “balanced” was never well-defined in this thread, and as Rob said earlier, it is even more impossible to prove that the billions of straight couples are on average more balanced than the millions of gay couples.

    TAR :
    And, no matter how much “love” or commitment exists between two in a same-sex couple,

    WHY do you put the word “love” in quotation marks, as though gay partners don’t really love each other? I’ve met loads of gay couples in long-term, committed relationships, all of which were united by love. Yes, the same love that straight couples feel. And don’t even tell me “it’s not the same.” No kidding–parents love their kids, kids and adults love their friends, partners love each other, and people love their pets. It’s all called love; no quotation marks, no problem.

  117. TAR
    September 8th, 2011 at 14:13 | #117

    @Spunky

    I have no problem with the analogy between the coupling of a plug & socket and a man & woman. Both couplings contain complementary opposites that are designed to become one.

    My concept of balance as related to coupling is not dependent on procreative intent or ability; it is dependent on the degree of difference and complementarities that exist between the two in the couple. If reading back through the thread does not help you understand my concept of the balance inherent in male-female relationships, then I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

    I wrote “love” because I was writing of the act, not the emotion. As you aptly expressed love as an emotion is subjective and can be directed to many animate and inanimate objects. Since I was discussing the creation of life which only happens through the act of love (intercourse) and since two men or two women are physically incapable of intercourse, I put love in quotes.

Comments are closed.